6 Things to Ask Yourself Before You Start Your Own Event Agency

Are you thinking of starting your own event agency? There is a huge amount of demand for event agencies and it can be a very attractive career. However, are you really cut out for this kind of business? Do you want to go it alone and start your own event agency? Here are 6 things that you must ask yourself before you take the plunge and start your own event agency.

Will I Be Good at Marketing?

Marketing, marketing, marketing.  An essential element of any home based business is the ability to get customers and clients. You will not survive without winning clients! Not only do you need to have great event planning skills, you will also need to be able to market those skills to the public. It may be that when your business is established most of your clients find you by recommendation, but in those early days you are going to have to find some way of marketing your services.

In the digital age you really have to be internet savvy in order to promote yourself as an event planner. Many clients will look on the internet first to find an event planner. If you can’t build your own website invest in someone to do it for you. This doesn’t have to be a huge cost. Just make sure that it is functional, looks good and gives potential clients the information that they need.

Remember that there are different types of marketing:

You’ll probably encounter a “guru” with “the way” to market, but it’ll require a lot of trial and error, finding out who your target customer is, and having a unique selling proposition.  Marketing, at least in the beginning, will be the hardest part of your business.

Always think of unconventional ways of marketing. You may discover that you find business contacts in the most unlikely of places.

Do I Really Want to Be Self Employed?

Self-employment may sound like a great idea, but do you really want to take this step? If you already have a steady job it may be difficult to cut ties and give up that regular income. Make sure that you have adequate resources so that you can survive for a while during the initial months when work may be slow.

You may also want to try to run your business alongside your job for a while. A lot of event planning work can be completed at the weekends and in the evening. Give yourself some time to build up contacts while you are still earning a regular income from employment.

Do I Have the Time and Space?

To be self-employed you do have to be very disciplined. You will often work longer hours than you would when you are employed – are you ready to commit the time and energy to working for yourself? Being self-employed often means that it is difficult to separate your home and your work life.

Is your home situation likely to be conducive to working from home? You have to have your own space and be able to work without distractions. Trying to look after a toddler whilst building an event planning business is possible, but far from ideal. Event planning can be an excellent business for a work at home parent, but you need to be careful that you are not trying to do everything at the same time. Make sure that you have someone to look after the children when you really need quality work time.

Decide how you are going to be able to commit to enough hours to firstly get your business off the ground, and then be able to put in the necessary time to keep it working.

Make sure that you have a dedicated work space. This could be a separate room or the kitchen table. You have to find what works for you. Some people who work from home find that they have to have peace and quiet in their own office in the house. Others can work in the middle of chaos in the center of the house. Work out which type of person you are and create the home work space that you need.

Do I Have the Qualifications?

If you start your own business as an event planner you do not need any formal qualifications, but some clients may want to see that you have completed some kind of training. Most will likely not mind that you do not have any paper qualifications and look more to your proven skills as an event planner.

If you feel as though you do need an academic background in event planning the most usual path is to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in a hospitality related subject. If you have a degree in a different field, you could consider taking classes in event planning and management. However, most people who start their own business do not have these formal qualifications – only you can assess if you need them to start your particularly home based business.

Do You Want to Work Alone?

Usually when you first start out with your own event agency you will be a one-person operation. It is likely that you won’t have the resources to pay someone else to help you with the work. You really need to know that you will be able to put in the time to successfully start and then sustain an event planning business.

Another consideration is that if you work alone you will not have anyone to bounce ideas off. Event planning is a very creative process which often relies on the input of other people. If you work in an office environment with other event planners, you often get ideas from each other. Remember that if you are working from home it will be more difficult to get inspiration from others.

Do You Have the Right Personality?

You may have all the right organizational skills to start your own event agency, but do you really have the personality to win the clients? When someone turns over their very special event to you to organize they really have to like you as well as having faith in your ability to organize. You have to have the kind of personality which is really going to win people over quickly. Clients are investing a lot of trust in you and they have to be sure that they can work with you, often in stressful situations.


How Engaging an Event Agency Can Save You Time and Money

You may be considering engaging an event agency, but are unsure about whether or not it is the right option for you. Perhaps you feel that it will be a waste of money and that you are perfectly able to do the event planning yourself. However, there are many benefits to hiring an event agency. We all want to save time and money – engaging an event agency can have these dual benefits.

Do I Really Need an Event Planner?

Firstly, you must decide if the size of your event warrants engaging an event planner. You may not want to hire someone to take care of your five year olds birthday party where they are having ten guests – you can most likely handle that all by yourself. However, larger events are different. That 60th wedding anniversary for your parents where they want to invite 200 people is a different matter.

You may be able to easily take on small projects on your own, but for the bigger events you may not be able to commit the time to making things a success. Organizing any event can be stressful and usually the larger the event the larger the stress factor. You simply may not have the organizational skills needed to make the event a success.

If you are planning a social event, it may be that you still think that having an event planner is a luxury which you don’t need. However, if you are planning a corporate event this can be very difficult to do without professional help.

The aim of a corporate event is usually raising awareness of your brand and your company. There may not be anyone in your company with the skills that are required to plan a successful corporate event. In this situation you really need to consider engaging an event agency. It may be that you can work alongside them and learn exactly what goes into making an event successful. You can then put these skills to work in organizing a subsequent event – but it really isn’t a good idea to go it alone for your first experience.

Will an Event Agency Really Save Me Time?

It is very easy to underestimate the amount of time that planning an event can take. What may seem simple at first can change into a huge time commitment that you really hadn’t bargained for. Getting an event planner onboard at the first opportunity really can be a very smart move.

To take a very common example of a large event, a wedding is meant to be the happiest day of your life, but the planning can be extremely stressful. There are so many decisions to be made. You may find that planning your dream wedding is a lot more of a time commitment than you first thought. There is so much to organize and it can take away some of the enjoyment of the event if you are finding it stressful. It can be overwhelming.

You should consider engaging a wedding planner to help make your dreams a reality. They can not only save you time, but they will most likely save you money as well. They can take a lot of the stresses away and you can concentrate on enjoying the planning process knowing that you have an expert to help you.

Will I Actually Save Money?

Having an event agency organize your event can often save you money. You will obviously have the cost of the event planner, but they may be able to save you money overall on the project. You may find that not only does an event agency take away the stresses of planning, but it can save you money overall, even when taking their fee into account.

There are many elements which go into planning a successful event. Choosing the venue is only the very first step. There will be many decisions after that and each different element has a cost related to it.

A good event agency will have contacts with a lot of different venues. They can help you find just the right place for your event. They will most likely also be able to negotiate a discounted rate with the venue. This can sometimes be a substantial saving. This alone may even offset the cost of the event planner.

Once you have chosen your venue there will then be a lot of services that you have to set up and vendors that you have to find. An event planner can take care of all of this for you. They may have relationships with a number of vendors so that they can negotiate discounts for you. The savings can be substantial.

An event planner will also have plenty of experience in planning the type of event that you are having. Always choose an event agency which has experience in the particular type of evet that you are having. It won’t be much help if you are planning a corporate event and they usually handle birthday parties for kids.

If the planner is used to working with the kind of event that you are having, they can tell you where it is best that you direct your budget. There may be areas of the event where you think that you really need to spend a lot of money, but their experience will tell you that you will not be spending your money wisely in this area. They will guide you as to how your budget can be allocated so that you get exactly what you want.

If you are holding a corporate event an experienced event agency can be invaluable. They will be able to help you direct your money where it will make the most impact. They will work with you so that you can achieve the outcome that you want for your event, for the least amount of money. You will certainly find that hiring an event agency for a corporate event is money well spent.

The Essential Questions You Must Ask Your Event Agency Before You Sign Them Up

Once you have decided that you are going to hire an event planner you need to make sure that you find the right one who is going to meet your needs and expectations. It is very important that you get the right event agency for the job. An event planner can save you a lot of time and money, but if you choose the wrong one that is going to bring a whole lot of problems. So you have to be sure that you are choosing the right event agency.

It is important that you make a shortlist of your top 3 or 4 candidates and that you take the time to interview each of them personally. They are going to be taking a lot of stresses away from you, but you need to be able to make sure that you can work with them and that they will achieve your desired result.

Here are the essential questions that you must ask your prospective event agency before you sign them up.

Are You Available for My Event?

This is a fundamental question which often gets overlooked. You need to make sure that the person you are talking to is actually available on the day of the event. If they aren’t you need to be clear that you will also be working with their assistant and that this will not affect the quality of service that you receive.

How Much Is This Going to Cost?

It is very important that you are clear from the outset of how much the event agency is going to cost you. Different agencies work on different fee structures so it is vital that you know how much their services are going to cost. If they charge an hourly rate it is very important that you understand exactly how hours are billed. You will want to know how charges are building up and what they expectations of payments on account are. You will most likely also want to put a ceiling on the overall cost.

Other agencies charge a percentage of the total cost of the event. If this is the case, you need to work out your total budget at the outset and think about how things will be dealt with if things go over budget.

One of the simplest ways to charge is the flat fee. Talk with the event planner about this and make sure that you know exactly what is included and what isn’t.

What Experience Do You Have in Planning Events Like Mine?

It is always a good idea to engage an events agency which specializes in the type of evet that you are planning. There is little point in engaging someone as a wedding planner if they normally organize corporate events for small businesses. A specialist will have the expertise and the contact list that you need to ensure that your event is a success.

Can You Work Within my Budget?

This is a very fundamental question. You have to be sure that your event planning agency is aware of your budget and are prepared to work within it. There is no sense in taking on an event planner who is used to working with a $100,000 budget when all you have to spend is $10,000. Always make sure that your planner has a complete understanding of your budget and that you cannot go over your limit.

Do You Have Relevant Contacts with Vendors and Service Providers?

One of the major advantages of hiring an evet planner over doing the job yourself is that they have contacts with a wide range of people. This can prove invaluable in planning an event. You need to make sure that these contacts are going to be relevant for your event. For instance, a wedding planner needs to have contacts not just with venue providers, but also with florists, caterers, printers, entertainers, car services and cake decorators.

Having a huge amount of contacts can mean not only that you have access to a wide range of services, but also that you may get discounts on those services. If an event planner is continually working closely with vendors and service providers, they will most likely be able to negotiate you a good discount. This in itself may pay for the cost of the event planner with the savings that you will make.

What Is the Worst Emergency You Have Had?

You can tell a great deal about an event planner with how they deal with this question. Things go wrong and unexpected things happen. The important thing is how they deal with situations in a crisis. You want to know that they are going to be able to handle any eventuality, so listen carefully to how they deal with this question!

What Insurance Coverage Do You Have?

This question is one which is often missed, but it is essential. Things sometimes go wrong, and in this world of litigation you have to be very clear about liability. Things happen and you need to be sure that you will be covered.

What are Your Ideas for My Event?

Your prospective event planner should have taken the time to ask you questions so that they can see the type of vision that you have for your event. They should then be able to make some suggestions as to how they can help you make that vision come to life.

This is where you can assess not only how creative they are, but also how well they have listened and interpreted your needs. It is all very well to have the most sought after event planner in the town, but they also need to be able to turn your ideas into the successful event that you want. You are paying them to be creative and organize your event, but it is important that they organize an event that you will be proud of. This means that you have to be sure that they are listening to what you want.

How to Start an Event Facilities Agency from Home: My Plan

There are many opportunities to start your own event planning business. This is my outline for how I’m going about building an event business.  You might have more or less capital starting out, and you probably have already thought for a while on some of the questions.  One of the advantages of this kind of business is that it can be started from home. You may want to expand in the future and at that point decide that you have to rent commercial space, but one of the advantages of an event planning business is that you can start working out of your own home.

There are a number of questions that you need to ask yourself before you start your event facilities agency. Here are just some of the things that you have to think about before embarking on this career move.

Do You Really Want to Work from Home?

Working from home has many advantages, the most obvious of which is that you can keep your initial startup costs low as you do not need to commit to paying for premises. Rent for commercial premises can be high, and your income will be low when you are starting out. Working out of your home office is an easy way to save money.

There is also the advantage that you can devote more time to your business – there is no commute to work! You can spend the time that you would have spent traveling to work, actually doing some work.

It is very easy to work flexible hours from home. If you need to work around family commitments, or even another job, working from home gives you the flexibility to be able to do this.

There are some disadvantages to working from home. One of those is that there is a tendency to feel as though you should be working 24 hours a day. You do need to be disciplined to set yourself work limits and switch off your phone and your computer at the end of the day. Sure, you can work until the early hours if you need to, but make sure that you use your time wisely. It is easy to get burned out quickly if you do not take some time for yourself to simply relax.

Will You Specialize?

Your business will evolve over time, but many event planners start out wanting to specialize in a particular type or category of event. You will have to decide whether or not you want to specialize in a particular kind of event planning, or offer a more general service.

At first you may want to have a broad category of types of work that you will take on. This will give you an idea of what you are most suited to, which is the most profitable and which you enjoy the most. You may decide that you want to specialize in a certain category of event planning, for example, social event planning. This covers things like weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, bar and bat mitzvahs and children’s parties.

You may feel that your experience and expertise are more suited to the corporate world. There is a large market for corporate event planning, which includes not only for profit organizations, but charities too. There are many types of events which you may be required to cover including fundraisers, receptions, conferences, trade shows and company employee events.

Do Your Market Research

When you start any business it is very important to research the market. It is no use starting a wedding event planning business if the market is already saturated in your area and you do not have anything different to offer. Make sure that you know that there is a demand for your services. Competition is always good, but avoid going into a market which seems as though there are too many event planners already. If you do this, you will have to make sure that you offer something very different from your competitors.

Where is the Niche?

What your market research will often tell you is that whist there is demand, there are a lot of other event planners out there. How are you going to compete with already established businesses? Let us imagine that you have decided that you want to be a social planner. What you really want to do is be a wedding planner, but there are lots of others out there who already offer this service. How are you going to break into the market?

Start thinking creatively. It may not be a good idea to target the whole wedding market, but you may want to specialize in a particular niche in that market. Why not think of a particular type of wedding and market yourself as a specialist in organizing those events? You can set yourself up as a specialist in vegan weddings, second marriages, vow renewals, or same sex marriages. Think outside the box and work out how you can stand out from the crowd.

How are you Going to Get Customers?

Once you have worked out the type of business that you want, the next step is actually finding some customers. Always be as creative as you can with your marketing techniques.

Networking is essential in the event planning business. This is not only so that you can find out about great venues and services, but others in the industry can often help you make contacts which lead to meeting potential customers.

Is it Profitable?

The one thing that we would definitely advise against is to market yourself solely on the basis that you are cheaper than your competitors. This may serve as a quick fix to get you started in the event planning business, but this should only ever be viewed as a temporary thing. You are just setting yourself up to be poorly rewarded and you have to work just as hard. Don’t become known as the cheapest – you will regret it.

Make sure that you are consistent in your book keeping so that you can work out the actual profitability of your business and how you can improve so that your business grows as much as you want it to. There is little use working from home if you really aren’t making a living. Do not be afraid to increase your prices – you will often be surprised that people are prepared to pay increased rates if you give them great value. Be careful not to undersell yourself.

The Big Questions For Your Wedding Planner

Planning a wedding is one of the most exciting times of your life. This will be one of the most memorable days that you ever experience and you really want everything to be perfect. This is where is starts getting stressful!

There are so many decisions to be made. First you have to find a venue, but this is just the beginning of a whole range of choices and decisions that you have to make. Many brides find the process overwhelming and consider hiring an events agency to help. Having a wedding planner can take a lot of the stresses away and make sure that your wedding day is indeed the happiest day of your life. There are many advantages to engaging the services of a wedding planner, but how do you find the best one?

Ideally you should come up with a shortlist of 3 or 4 potential wedding planners. It is very important that you find someone that you will be happy working with and who you feel will listen to how you want your wedding to be. You will most likely have lots of ideas for you wedding and you need to find someone who will help you make those dreams become a reality.

Here are some questions that you should ask any potential events agency and wedding planner.

What is Your Availability?

This may seem like an obvious question, but this is the first one that you should ask. There is no point in finding the perfect wedding planner and then finding out that they are already booked for your preferred date.

Make sure that the person that you want to handle your wedding will actually be available on the day. You do not want to find out later that she will be sending an assistant as she will be busy elsewhere. Find out if your wedding planner works with a team or you will always be dealing with the same person.

What Level of Budget Do You Usually Manage?

You need to make sure that you are comfortable with the type of weddings that she usually plans. You do not want to find out she is used to only planning weddings with a huge budget, when you only have very limited funds. If you have a $150,000 budget, you probably don’t want to work with someone who is not used to handling that large of a project either. Make sure that your wedding planner is a good fit for your budget.

What Services Do You Provide?

You need to be clear exactly what your wedding planner can help you with. You may want minimal help and you need to be sure that they are comfortable with this and that their services are priced accordingly. Or you may want someone to take over all of the planning and you just approve major decisions. You need to decide how much of a role you really want to play and find someone who you think will let you have the amount of input that you want.

You need to know exactly which services your wedding planner can provide. Do they just provide services relating to the venue or can they cover everything relating to your event? You may want help with planning the bachelorette party, accommodation and entertainment for guests pre and post wedding, and the bridal shower. You need to find out if your wedding planner can help you with each task that you need assistance with.

How Do You Communicate?

The most important thing is that you feel that it is going to be easy to communicate with your wedding planner. You should ask what means of communication they use most often. It is no good choosing a wedding planner who prefers to communicate by email if you want to primarily talk on the phone or in person. You have to make sure that the wedding planner realizes and can accommodate the form and frequency of communication that you want.

How Many Weddings Have You Planned?

This is a very important question so that you can assess the level of experience of each wedding planner that you are considering to take care of your special day. You need to ask the kind of wedding that they have planned. It is essential to check that they have the kind of expertise that you need. It will be reassuring to know that they have experience in planning the kind of wedding that you are thinking that you want.

Do You Have References?

It is always important to ask for references. You need to know that others have been happy with the services of your prospective wedding planner. Rather than rely on written references ask for the contact details of clients and speak to them directly. Be wary if they cannot supply a number of references, particularly if they do not want you to speak to former clients.

How Do You Deal with Unexpected Events?

It doesn’t matter how carefully you plan. Things go wrong sometimes. It is important that you ask any wedding planner that you interview how they cope in a crisis. Ask them for an example of how they dealt with something that did not go according to plan. This will give you some idea of how they work under pressure.

What is this Going to Cost?

ou need to have a very clear idea of how much the services of a wedding planner will cost. This is not the time to have an unexpected additional charge – a wedding is one of the most expensive days of your life, so you need to know how much each element of the day will cost you. Wedding planners should have extensive contacts with vendors and they may be able to negotiate discounts on your behalf.

Wedding planners charge in different ways. Some have an hourly rate; others charge a percentage of the overall cost of the wedding. Other wedding planners charge a flat fee rate. It is important that you know from the very start exactly what the fees are.